Peaceful protests across the country have been "hijacked by outside radicals and agitators exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda," Attorney General William P. Barr said Saturday.
Meanwhile, President Trump called on "Liberal Governors and Mayors” to get “much tougher” in dealing with protesters “or the Federal Government will step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests.”
“Crossing State lines to incite violence is a FEDERAL CRIME!" Trump tweeted.
Protesters rallied peacefully in Englewood, Paterson, Newark and elsewhere in New Jersey.
But there was violence across the country, beginning with riots in Minneapolis.
Protesters clashed with police in New York City -- where a police van was torched and several officers were injured -- as well as in Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles, where more than 500 people were arrested Friday night. A police officer was shot in Milwaukee.
"The outrage of our national community about what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is real and legitimate," Barr said. "Accountability for his death must be addressed, and is being addressed, through the regular process of our criminal justice system, both at the state and at the federal level."
Barr also said that the justice system is "working and moving at exceptional speed" to hold those responsible for Floyd's death accountable.
"Unfortunately, with the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by violent radical elements," the attorney said.
"In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from out of state to promote the violence," he said.
"We must have law and order on our streets and in our communities," Barr said, placing responsibility for stopping the violence on local and state leaders.
They will get full support from the U.S. Department of Justice -- including the FBI, federal Marshals Service, ATF and DEA, as well as all 93 U.S. Attorneys across the country, he said.
"It is a federal crime to cross state lines or to use interstate facilities to incite or participate in violent rioting," Barr said.
"We will enforce these laws,” he vowed.
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